General Public Policy
1. Importance of Studying Public Policy
Is it important to study Public Policy? To answer this question, it is necessary to understand first what public policy is. Public policy is the predetermined guide to specific actions that can be taken by an administrative party, i.e. an executive of an organization, company, or even the state.
These actions are taken with regard to class of specific or different issues in a way that is in accordance with the laid down law, custom, or principle of the state.
Public policy as an academic course or discipline is characterized by different elements of various social sciences, subjects, and concepts. Some of these sub topics are economics, sociology, program evaluation, natural resources, political economy, analysis of policies, and public management.
Public policy as a course becomes important because almost every aspect in our life like healthcare, security, education, etc. is a part or an aspect of public policy. Studying public policy is a good career path due to diverse opportunities related to the discipline. One can be a private consultant or a government employee.
The study of public policy also makes one more aware and able to analyze government actions accordingly. This increases the public awareness in terms of government actions.
From the above paragraphs, it is obvious that education, healthcare, transportation, housing, energy, and virtually every aspect of human life has a relation to public policy and decisions made by the government. This means that the study of public policy is of utmost significance.
Solving public-related problems, which are more complex, global and have various connections, requires good understanding of public policy that can be acquired through education.
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2. Government Spending as an Indicator of Priorities
In 2014, the Federal Government of the United States will spend a staggering $3.8 trillion. This makes up over 22% of the United States economy.
Spending of this money indicates the government priorities in terms of various departments based on percentage allocation.
More money goes to sectors with the highest priorities. The United States Governments Treasury groups them as mandatory spending. This may include sectors like health and education.
Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services received almost 25% of the Federal Government of the United States. This indicates that the current administration has highly prioritized health and Medicare
Spending by the government that is essentially automatic also indicates the level of priority of such sectors or departments. Expenditure on social security may fluctuate from time to time, but it is always mandatory; thus, the priority is always high. Each year, there is a change of priorities in any government. The allocation of funds to specific departments is a good indicator of the priorities that the government has deemed important.
The department of energy of the United States government had a lump sum of about 35 billion dollars last year in discretionary spending. This means that the priority of the government has risen when it comes to the energy sector.
The level of priority can also be indicated when the spending is cut down. There was about 11% cut on the budget expenditure for the department of science and research development.
4. The Stage in the Process of Developing Policy where the Media Have the Greatest Control
The policy development process has six stages. The media comes as a very effective tool and has a certain amount of control over the process. The media control all the processes.
Even before the problem recognition phase, the media play the role of accessing and uprooting problems that are facing the society. This makes it easier for policy makers to identify them. During problem recognition, the media have a significant amount of control as they help highlight the problems that should make the policy agenda. When the agenda setting phase has come, the media can sway the agenda that should be deemed worthy of policies.
Various parties that are involved in policy formulation to deal with the problem in question are always under media pressure. This makes them keener on the agenda.
Various policies are always up for the adoption and the media play a major role in determining which policies are to be adopted. The media always take the side of the policy they are supporting, which amounts to pressure on the legislators.
Before a policy is adopted, the media play the role of analyzing public opinions on the policies up for adoption. The media also act as the public eye or watchdog during the policy implementation process.
The media have the greatest control when it comes to policy analysis and evaluation. The media are representative of public thoughts and ideas and can get an easy access to them. Through the public, the media have the greatest control of analysis and evaluation of the issue. Only through the public one can know if a public policy is effective and the media have the greatest access.
6. How the Federal Government Used the Funds to Exert Power over State and Local Governments
Through cutting of federal expenditures on states and local governments, the federal government has the power to make policies. The policies can be used to determine the distribution of funds, thus exercising power over states.
The federal government may use tax collection methods like tax increment over states to limit their funds. The federal government channels funds through federal agencies instead of state agencies to have control.
Federal grants are used to supplement the states and local government. This can be used to gain control by the terms of distribution. The federal government always takes administration of grant programs in a state or local government. This is done in order to have control of them.
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Intergovernmental grants are used as a tool to influence the policy-making process in a state, which is often used by the federal body. Due to its power to borrow funds more readily, the federal body uses this as a way to control spending of the local government and state. The federal government has the power to redistribute federal resources, giving it ultimate power.
Public Policy Issues
1. The Main Points in the Debate over Gun Control in the United States are the following:
For a start, the number of guns in the United States is a major point.
The second amendment grants the right to people to keep guns.
The rate of homicide in the United States. Is it increasing or decreasing?
The crime rate. Is the percentage of crime rate going high or low?
Crime prevention and the relationship it has with gun ownership relation.
The rate of crimes committed by individually owned guns is also a significant point.
The federal ban on assault weapons and its effect on crime. A question of whether crime has risen or decreased due to the ban.
The point of gun violence in relation to state gun control laws.
The public opinion on gun control counts as a major point as well.
2. The Main Issues in Assessing the Problem of Poverty are the following:
Measurement of poverty in the way it affects the states.
Indicators of poverty. Factors that indicate poverty or similar conditions.
The poverty gap between the rich and the poor is also a significant assessment of poverty problems.
Assessing poverty problems through the effects of poverty like crime.
Causes of poverty like unemployment are a major factor to consider in assessing the problems of poverty.
Gender relation and the part gender plays in poverty are significant for assessing poverty problems.
Life expectancy in relation to poverty. Increase or decrease in the assessment of life expectancy is an issue related to poverty.
Assessing the problem of poverty requires assessing poverty distribution in terms of area and regions.
Child mortality in relation to poverty. The rate of increase and decrease of child mortality rate has a significant relation to poverty.
3. The Main Goals of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and Its Main Weaknesses
Main goals include the following:
The act aims at the increased quality of health care in the country.
There is the goal of increasing the affordability of health care to every citizen in the USA.
The act aims at lowering the rate of the uninsured citizens in general in the country.
The act has an objective of expanding public insurance coverage for healthcare among citizens.
The act aims at expanding private insurance coverage for health care among citizens.
The act plans to reduce the cost of health care for the government.
Main weaknesses include the following:
The act is simply expensive due to increased premiums and citizens are the ones paying.
There are new taxes to fund the act, making it a burden for citizens.
The act is based on or focuses more on covering people than on the cost of medical care.
The act limits medical insurance choices by federal specifications.
9. Analyze Public Policy Making in the Area of Civil Rights
Public policy making on civil rights should first make a basis of what civil rights are.
The policy making process should also identify the category of civilians that are up for civil rights protection.
It is necessary to consider carefully and identifying common issues of a civil right policy is the key.
There should be categorizing of the issues of age, gender, etc.
Every specific issue should have its own designated acts, e.g. disability act, employment act.
Generalizing of civil rights when forming public policies is not advised.
There should always be a clear line between the civilians and the military or any other different aspect.
There should be measures to establish to which extent infringing of civilian rights by the government occurs.
There should be a laid down procedure of actions to be taken when the civil right is infringed in the policy.
10. Compare Conventional Warfare to Modern Warfare, in Terms of Policy Making Decisions
Conventional warfare concerns the following:
Policies in a conventional warfare are suited for open confrontation.
Policies in a conventional warfare are meant to completely destroy the opponent.
Policies in conventional warfare always involve fighting parties and does not involve other aspects.
There is no use of technology in this kind of warfare. The warfare relies solely on the strength of the parties involved.
There is involvement of open bribery and incentives.
Modern warfare concerns the following:
There is minimal open confrontation between the parties involved. Everything is done in secrecy and the element of surprise is present.
In modern warfare, the element of surprise and cons are utilized more to subdue the enemy.
There is a lot of technology involved in modern war policy-making like hacking of mails and personal accounts.
In this policy making decision, policies are meant to finish the opponent career wise and it rarely gets to physical harm.
11. How the Goals and Methods of Terrorists Differ from those Engaging in Conventional Warfare?
Terrorist warfare concerns the following:
There is no open confrontation between the parties as terrorists are always hiding.
They do not fight to win, but to wear opponents down.
They hide among the general public. Terrorists are the masters of disguise.
They cannot be easily identified. Terrorists like to hide to avoid being identified.
They target even civilians. Terrorists target civilians just to make their point.
Conventional warfare concerns the following:
The confrontation is always open and there is the warzone.
There is always identification of parties in the war. Conventional warfare parties are always identifiable.
They kill or capture the enemy who poses a threat and take prisoners of war.
They never attack civilians. Conventional warfare never harms civilians directly, unlike terrorists.